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A Star is Born; Alive in Atlantic; Gabby's Golden Night; Amtrak Cost Taxpayers $834 Million

Aired August 3, 2012 - 05:00   ET


ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: Look at her. A star is born. American gymnast Gabby Douglas grabs gold and makes history in London.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Alive in the Atlantic. Tropical storm Ernesto, that's his name, barreling towards vacation hot spots. This could become a powerful hurricane.

SAMBOLIN: Mad dash for the door. Take a look. These would be robbers didn't come out meeting a 65-year-old lady with a gun. That is quite a thing.

BERMAN: Granny has got the gun, right?

SAMBOLIN: Oh, my goodness.

All right. Good morning to you. Welcome to early start. Thank you for being with us. I'm Zoraida Sambolin.

BERMAN: And I'm John Berman. It is 5:00 a.m. in the East.

We are counting down to the big jobs report that has huge political and economic implications.

SAMBOLIN: Christine Romans is going to show what we can actually expect.

Plus, the health hazard that has forced the first family of one state to move out of the governor's mansion.

BERMAN: Frankly, it's flat out gross.


BERMAN: But, first, we're going to start with something not gross at all. Something truly fantastic.

We are talking about the Olympics and that's her -- the flying squirrel who is now the golden girl. Sixteen-year-old Gabby Douglas, she cemented her legacy as the first straight American and the first African-American to win the women's all-around gymnastics gold medal. She started with a stellar vault, she ended with the dazzling floor routine, she completed a meteoric rise to Olympic champion.

Amanda Davies joins us now in London.

Amanda, you must be able to hear our enthusiasm. That was electric last night.


The Greenwich Arena turned into Club Gabby with the fantastic techno floor routine last night, didn't it? As you said, the flying squirrel has claimed the most coveted gold medal there is and it has been quite something. She did it in style, the top scores on the beam and the vault.

The 4-foot-11 teenager is only described as an average good gymnast back in March, which is quite something the tiny 4-foot-11 teenager is now well and truly catapulted on to the big stage and she's been pretty much on first name terms with the whole of America, isn't she?

She has been getting tweets from Oprah, from Nicki Minaj, from Michael Phelps. She herself has been tweeting, saying, wow, such an amazing experience. Thank you for all your support, love and prayers, love you all. She's used the hashtag #oncloud9.

But you think there's going to be a whole lot more fantastic experiences to come over the next weeks, months, and years after that.

BERMAN: When you say cloud nine, when she takes to the air, it looks like she's going to hit the rafters. She keeps going up and up and up and looks like she's never going to stop.

There was another big event last night, and that, of course, Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte. Michael Phelps capturing his first individual gold in the Olympics, the 200 IM yesterday. He looked like he was on a mission when he beat Ryan Lochte.

DAVIES: Yes. And his reaction afterwards was relief, really, wasn't it? It was a very interesting look on his face because, as you said, his first gold of the games. And some people were consigning him to history, he wanted to make a little bit more history of his own. The first man to win the same event at the Olympics three times in a row, claimed his 20th Olympic medal which really is quite some achievement.

Not such a great night for his teammate Ryan Lochte, though. He, of course, took silver and could only manage bronze in his favorite event 200 meter back stroke.

But there was an American who won that, Tyler Clary. He took his first gold here of the games.

And then we've got to give a mention to Rebecca Soni who put in the most sensational world record performance to win the 200 meter breast stroke.

BERMAN: All right. Amanda Davies in London -- thank you so much for joining us.

I was surprised by Michael Phelps. That was truly stunning.

SAMBOLIN: I wonder what he whispered in his ear when they were getting their medals, right?

BERMAN: Tough luck, buddy.

SAMBOLIN: Yes. Probably something along those lines.

And here's the up-to-date medal count. Team USA now on top with 37 overall medals, and tying China now with 18 golds. China is in second with has 34 medals overall, Japan in third with 19.

BERMAN: And this is what you can watch for today. Michael Phelps, he is back in the pool in his last individual race in this Olympics, or any Olympics for that matter, the 100-meter butterfly final. Americans Elizabeth Beisel and Missy Franklin, they're in the 200-meter backstroke final. And our women's soccer team, they are in the quarterfinals against New Zealand.

SAMBOLIN: And less than 3 1/2 hours until the critical July jobs report is released. If the economists surveyed by CNN Money are correct, it won't be a lot better than June, folks. The numbers were weak with 80,000 jobs added, and employment holding at 8.2 percent.

And economists aren't expecting much better for July. They are predicting 95,000 jobs were added last month, hardly enough to make a dent in the jobless rate.

Christine Romans, always minding your business, she'll break down the July numbers as soon as they are released, along with a special guest, Austan Goolsbee, the former chief economist for President Obama's economic recovery advisory board.

BERMAN: And this will have huge implications for the election as well.

SAMBOLIN: Yes, big news.

BERMAN: Also later today, the U.N. General Assembly will denounce the Syrian government for attacking the people of Damascus and Aleppo with tanks, warplanes and heavy artillery. The assembly will also warn the Assad regime to keep strict control over its chemical and biological weapons. This resolution comes one day after former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan resigned his position as special envoy to Syria, and frustrated, saying he is frustrated by the finger-pointing at the U.N. while the Syrians are being slaughtered.

SAMBOLIN: And trouble looms in paradise in the form of a tropical storm headed through the Caribbean. Rob Marciano has been tracking this for us.

What's the latest there, Rob?

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well, Ernesto, which reformed yesterday afternoon, now -- still a tropical storm, winds at 45 miles an hour. The last few hours it weakened and you can see here not nearly as robust, but they go through this cycle.

You look in the eastern Caribbean, it looks all clear and ready to just bomb out here, but there wins and some dry air in there that allows us to do that. So, it's going to be slow to go as far as development.

It's actually moving at 24 miles an hour. Right now, it's just to the east of St. Lucia. It already went just past Barbados overnight. Here's the forecast track for the National Hurricane Center, keeping at tropical storm strength and potentially developing into a hurricane as it cruises through the Caribbean, probably not until towards Jamaica and then towards Yucatan is when winds are expected to be more favorable for development.

But what is important note here is get, you know, closer to the Gulf of Mexico by the time we get to the beginning of next week. So, all eyes on this for the lower parts of the U.S. Ernesto making a run potentially at the U.S.

Guys, back up to you.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Menacing. Thank you very much, Rob.

BERMAN: In Washington, House Republicans have been forced to close a loophole in the new STOCK Act Law. That was uncovered by us, by CNN. The crack down on congressional insider trading was signed by the president in April. It requires lawmakers to report all stock trades of $1,000 or more within 45 days.

But members of the House had an entering interpretation. They didn't think the law applied to spouses or their dependents. The bill's sponsor was not pleased about that.


SEN. SCOTT BROWN (R-MA), STOCK LEGISLATION SPONSOR: Let's say that I find out some information and I tell my wife and she goes and trades on it, what's the difference?

SEN. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND (D), NEW YORK: The whole point is we should play by the same rules as every ever American citizen. And when all of America looks at Washington, they know it's broken.


BERMAN: Because of CNN's reporting, the Senate and the House passed new legislation yesterday and this closes the loophole that could have allowed family members of some lawmaker to profit from inside stock information.

SAMBOLIN: It is eight minutes past the hour. The Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid putting on the full court press on Mitt Romney over releasing more tax returns and making some big time un- sourced accusations in the process. Reid saying Romney won't release them because he hasn't paid any. Listen to this.


SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: The word is out he hasn't paid taxes for ten years. Let him prove that he has paid taxes because he hasn't.


SAMBOLIN: Yesterday on Sean Hannity's show, the presumptive GOP nominee fired back.


MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's time for Harry to put up or shut up. Harry is going to have to describe who it is he spoke with because, of course, that's totally and completely wrong. It's untrue, dishonest and inaccurate. It's wrong.

So, I'm looking forward to have Harry reveal his sources and we'll probably find out it's the White House.


SAMBOLIN: He sounds pretty angry there, doesn't he? Mitt Romney, so far, has released one complete tax filing for 2010, along with an estimate for 2011 -- far fewer than most modern candidates including President Obama who has now released a dozen years of returns.

BERMAN: All right. You have to look at one of the most amazing pieces of surveillance video we have seen in a long time. Let's call it granny's got a gun.

Look, this is a bunch of gang members storming into a jewelry store in Garden Grove, California. They rush in. But seconds later, you see them hurried, shots were fired right there. That's because the woman behind the counter opened fire. These guys just booked it out of there.

You can see them crowding behind the door and getting out as fast as they humanly can. A bunch didn't make it into the get away car. That's what happens when you give a grandmother a gun.

Police say the suspects were picked up about a block away.

SAMBOLIN: Oh my goodness. That is some funny video. We should tweet that out. You can share it.

Check your Facebook profile. Maybe your friends are not who they say they are. coming up, the truth about Facebook's fakers.

BERMAN: Call it fake book.


SAMBOLIN: Welcome become to EARLY START. Thirteen minutes past the hour. I'm Zoraida Sambolin.

BERMAN: And I'm John Berman.

We are getting an early look at the local papers, some of the headlines.

And the headline out of Cleveland that might make some Cleveland Browns fans nervous. The headline is this, the Browns are being sold for more than $1 billion. The buyer is Jimmy Haslam, who is the CEO of the Pilot Flying J rest area empire. Haslam is from Tennessee.

The Cleveland Browns fans, when they see this headline, they might be a little nervous, they might be thinking -- oh, no, does this mean the Browns will move again? But fear not, they are not going anywhere. Haslam and the NLF both made perfectly clear the Browns will stay in town this time.

One more, Jimmy Haslam's, his older brother, younger brother rather is Bill Haslam, the governor of Tennessee.

SAMBOLIN: Oh. All righty. A contentious battle, this was a two-year battle. Everybody has heard about this.

There was Islamic center of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, gets its final inspection. That is happening today. Iowa Governor Terry Branstad and his wife -- I'm sorry, opponents have been trying its construction for two years -- there were go -- with a lawsuit, a rally, vandalism, arson, there was even a bomb threat.

But today, the Islamic center in Tennessee gets its final inspection. If it passes, inspectors may issue a certificate of occupancy. And if it's granted, mosque officials say they could hold a prayer service in the building next Friday. It's about time, right?

BERMAN: It's about it. It's going on for a long, long time.

SAMBOLIN: It's a beautiful building too.

BERMAN: It is. I saw the pictures. It's gorgeous.

Moving to Iowa and this is a story we have been talking about, which is a little grizzly and gruely.

The Iowa Governor Terry Branstad and his wife -- they are being moved out of the governor's mansion. Why? Because of black mold. Branstad and his wife said they have been feeling sick for a while and they didn't know why.

The house was inspected. It turned out this stuff is loaded with mold, a lot of it apparently. So, they have to go in there and clean out this house. It could take three weeks. The last time they reported issues with the air around the house also.

This place is a crazy looking castle-like Victorian-style house is beautiful.

SAMBOLIN: I think it's beautiful.

BERMAN: It's beautiful, but it's cursed. It's got black mold.

Anyway, they'll be back hopefully in about three weeks. We hope he lives comfortably in the meantime.

SAMBOLIN: His wife said she was feeling sick for about a month. Trying to figure out, and the air quality test was nasty.

BERMAN: It can happen to anyone, even a governor.

SAMBOLIN: Yes, it can.

BERMAN: So, they are not feeling well. That's what you do. Get an air quality test. You never know.

Sixteen minutes past the hour. For an expanded look at all our stories, head to our blog,

It's now about a quarter past the hour. Let's get you up to date on the headlines.

Christine Romans is here with the top, top stories.


The most decorated Olympian in history swimming in his last individual race today. Michael Phelps will swim the 100 meter butterfly on Friday with a chance to add a second three-peat to his resume. Last night, Phelps proves he is still the man, beating Ryan Lochte in the 200-meter individual medley.

We are learning this morning about the person who died in this horrific bus crash in southern Illinois. Police identified her as 25 year-old Aditi Avhad of India. The bus traveling from Chicago to St. Louis when some passenger a tire blew out, sending it crashing into an overpass pillar.


ZACH HALL, PASSENGER: Most people had blood on them somewhere. A lot of people, there was a man who couldn't move from the neck down. There's a man had his head stuck in front of the two seats in front of them. I could hear screams of pain from the top level of the bus.


ROMANS: About two dozen people were sent to the hospital, with injuries ranging from minor to very, very serious injuries.

The typhoon death toll is rising in the Philippines, when emergency officials said at least 37 people were killed, 33 more injured and heavy rain from typhoon Saola as the storm moved away from the island. Saola dropped as much as 18 inches of rain over the Philippines. It then battered Taiwan and is now taking aim at China.

Fake profiles, pages for your pets or sketchy secret accounts. Facebook saying that 83 million profile pages of nearly a billion in the social network are fakes or dupes. Using the fake name on the social media site violates the terms of service. Facebook made the disclosure in an updated regulatory filing yesterday and it's always looking for these things and disabling these fake book accounts.

BERMAN: Eighty-three million fake book accounts?

ROMANS: Yes. You've seen them, haven't you? I mean, Brian Bell (ph), our producer at 9:00, has one for his dog. I just called him out.

SAMBOLIN: Thank you very much, Christine.

ROMANS: You're welcome.

SAMBOLIN: It's probably issue number for the race for the White House. Jobs -- who is hiring and who's firing. Christine Romans previews this morning's all important jobs report. That's headed your way, next.


BERMAN: And we are mining your business this morning.

It is jobs day. The Labor Department releases the big jobs report for July at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time.

SAMBOLIN: The U.S. stock futures and European markets are up, ahead of the report. And Christina has a preview of what we can expect from the Labor Department this morning. She is psyched and geeked and ready to go.

ROMANS: I know. This is a really important report. They always are. But once a month, we find out how many jobs were created in the prior month, and it's very political three months before an election, of course.

But it's also very, very important for American families, because every one of the numbers is a job that drives an economy of a family. So, that's why it's so important. This is what we are expecting in July.

The estimate from economists is that 95,000 jobs were created and about 8.2 percent unemployment rate.

You guys, take a look at this. This is the January, February, March. Look at this -- we thought we were having a rebound here, hiring recovery -- and then something happened -- something happened here in the spring and the summer that shows that hiring has slowed here. And that's a concern.

If you go to last summer, you can see a similar pattern in May, June, July, August. It looked like there was a summer swoon as well.

Some people this morning, some economists are talking about maybe some seasonal adjustment formulas at the Labor Department, could that have something to do. You add that on to a very kind of abnormal and quirky jobs market. Why we're seeing a summer swoon, but we'll explore that a little bit more as we go forward.

The political part this is that you have an economy that is coming back from this horrible -- look at this you guys. These are job losses. The end of the Bush administration and the beginning of the President Obama administration, 700,000 jobs lost here. A little bit of a recovery and again a set back and we are trying to get a better trajectory.

You want to see at least 150,000 jobs created every month just to absorb new workers into the labor market. Think about that, you need 150,000 just to absorb the new workers in the labor market, anything above that you start to eat into the unemployment rate and put people back to work, who lost their jobs in the recession, still a lot of work to do.

This is an important jobs report politically, no question about it.

BERMAN: You talk about summer sluggishness, there plenty of reasons the U.S. jobs market slowed down this summer. Different, of course, than last summer.

ROMANS: That's right. We got Europe that's a really big factor for exporters and manufacturing companies. Europe is the single largest destination of American exports.

If you are concerned, there are recessions all over the place in Europe. U.K. is in a double-dip recession. That means anybody who is selling stuff over there, they may not need to add any workers. So, that's something we're really closely watching.

SAMBOLIN: Christine Romans, thank you.

ROMANS: You're welcome.

SAMBOLIN: All right. A suspect deals a crushing blow to the police. You have to take a look at this story and this video. We'll explain it. Look at the police cars.

And if you are leaving the house right now, you can watch us any time on your desktop, your mobile phone. Just go to


BERMAN: She left them floored in London. Gabby Douglas rises from obscurity to do something no other American gymnast has done at the Olympics.

SAMBOLIN: Storming the tropics. Ernesto churning in the Atlantic. It's ready to rain on some island vacations unfortunately.

BERMAN: A runaway train of waste. Government auditors with some eye-popping details on how Amtrak loses millions of dollars of taxpayer money and they do it every year.

SAMBOLIN: That are is a remarkable story. All of the details. Wait until you hear them.

BERMAN: It is 29 minutes past the hour. Welcome back to early start. I'm John Berman.

SAMBOLIN: And I'm Zoraida Sambolin. We are happy you're with us this morning. Well, 16 years old and on top of the world, right? American gymnast Gabby Douglas becoming the third straight American and the first African-American to win the women's all-around gold medal last night in London.

Amanda Davies is live at our Olympic bureau.

And I got to tell you, she is all over our newspapers. I would imagine yours as well. Gabby is golden. First African-American gymnast to win all-around. And then we have head over heels. Just really exciting. Just a moment to watch that it was just unbelievable.

DAVIES: Yes, it's the most fantastic story, isn't it, Zoraida? What a difference a day makes. Gabby Douglas now catapulted into the stratosphere having won one of the blue ribbon events here at the Olympics. Incredible to think that it was just five months ago she was described as just an average good gymnast.

And now, here she is having famed Olympic gold in London, and she's now pretty much just on first name terms with everybody in the USA. She received tweets overnight from Oprah, from Michael Phelps, from Nicky Minaj. You'd expect that she'll be getting that phone call from President Barack Obama as well.

And it is just -- it was a fantastic story. She really she did it in style, putting a sensation performance, a top performance on the vault and the beam, and then her final event on the floor with that techno music. People describing it here as like the Greenwich Arena turning into club Gabby.

Everybody is celebrating. Just a fantastic story for a 16 year- year-old. And she tweeted she is on cloud nine. And you'd think that -- it set to get higher and higher and higher with all the most fantastic experiences that will now be laid out in front of her.

SAMBOLIN: Oh, can you imagine? Only 16 years old. So, so much more to come from her. But it was also a huge night for Michael Phelps in the pool defeating his American rival, Ryan Lochte, in a 200-meter individual medley, and he's not done either.

DAVIES: No. It was a great sense of relief on his face, because some people have been consigning him to history because he had a relatively disappointing games, suddenly, but he decided he wanted to step up and make a little but more history in the 200 IM last night, and he became the first man to successfully win the same event in the pool three Olympic games in a row.

His 20th Olympic medal as well, and that makes his career stats quite incredible. Just have a look at this. If you look at Michael Phelps on his own compared to other countries, he has a better record than 170 out of 204 countries that are represented here at the games.

And if you look at just the swimming medals, if Michael Phelps was a country, he would be the seventh most successful country in history, even better than team GB. And as you said, that could get even better later on today when, of course, he's in the 100-meter fly.

SAMBOLIN: We're trying to figure out whether he'll win today. Mr. Berman sitting next to me says he doesn't think so, but I'm putting my money on him, I think. So, let's talk -- are we going to lose you here for a minute? Can we talk about one last thing? All right. So, track and field already under way this morning.

Women begin their quest for the 100-meter title, including American, Allyson Felix who tied, we remember, with Jeneba Tarmoh, in that amazing photo finish during the qualifiers. What can we expect today?

DAVIES: I think you struggle to expect that one again. I'm not sure we're ever going to see that photo finish again. Now, it's (ph) expected to be double the number of people here at the Olympic Park today, because this action is already under way.

You can hear the cheers behind us, the women's heptathlon, 100 meters hurdles heats well under way and just a great sense of excitement and anticipation now. Some people say that this is where the games really begin. We've got the heats as you said. Allyson Felix had to defend her position after that.

Some people suggesting she should have been the one that conceded the place in the Olympic Games in the 100 meters to her younger rival, really, Tarmoh. But, we've also got the 10,000 meters women's final and the first medal that will be awarded and the men's shot. So, plenty to look forward to today.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Amanda Davies, live in London for us. Thank you very much.

BERMAN: And let's just be clear. There's not a lot of money to be made betting against Michael Phelps. I'm aware of that. And I am rooting (ph) for him

SAMBOLIN: Are you?

BERMAN: I am. I promise.

It is 33 minutes past the hour right now. And back here at home, nearly half of the continental U.S. is experiencing severe, severe drought conditions this morning, and this crisis is just getting bigger. Not since the 30s has the U.S. been hit by a drought this widespread. The great plain states are taking the brunt of it. There's Arkansas, the hardest hit. Ninety-five percent of the state is suffering from severe to exceptional drought followed by Missouri at 93 percent.


BERMAN: And it's not much better in Kansas and Nebraska with temperatures expected to reach 100 degrees.

SAMBOLIN: Insult to injury, right?

BERMAN: Absolutely.

SAMBOLIN: Drought-stricken farmers and ranchers who are looking for help from Congress can forget about it, at least, for now. The House took up a $383 million relief bill yesterday, but the Senate wouldn't consider it, and Congress then adjourned for the summer.

They'll take up the issue again after Labor Day. Democrat, Debbie Stabenow, of Michigan is chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee. She says she'd rather pass a long-term five-year farm bill than a short-term fix.


SEN. DEBBIE STABENOW, (D) MICHIGAN: Congress and ranchers want us to get our job done. They want a five-year farm bill. They want us to address disaster assistance. I intend to do both. At this point, 30 days only makes a difference for those who are trying to play politics.


SAMBOLIN: House speaker, John Boehner, says he doesn't think he has enough votes to even get a five-year farm bill passed right now.

BERMAN: They're not doing anything and that's insult to injury.

SAMBOLIN: It really is.

BERMAN: No question.

We could be looking at the beginnings of a hurricane in the Atlantic Ocean right now. Rob Marciano is tracking our nest over. Rob, what's going on with this thing?

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: It's a tropical storm at this time. Yesterday, guys, it was just a depression. Still a weak tropical storm, 45-mile an hour winds. We're playing hurricane hunter aircraft in and out of there. These are even the satellite pictures. It doesn't look all that impressive right now, but they go through these cycles.

It's going to run into some air that's not exactly conducive for rapid development. So, we're not terribly concerned about it right now. It's right over St. Lucia at the moment, and the winds aren't all that crazy. They're getting some heavy rain, that's for sure. Here's the forecast track from the National Hurricane Center.

It's going to kind of run the center of the Caribbean, maybe dive south or right over Jamaica. But later in the period, we get towards the end of the weekend and beginning of next week is when we think it will get to, potentially, hurricane status. And then, this is what's concerning here.

The Yucatan Peninsula, Western Cuba, and potentially, into the Gulf of Mexico by the beginning or middle part of next week. So, all eyes certainly there. The folks in Oklahoma City would like to get a little bit of cloud cover just to cool town.

The temperature is 112 yesterday again in OKC which drop fall (ph) seeing 112 and heat advisory out again for this part of the world. This, obviously, is exacerbating that drought you just spoke up which expanded as of yesterday morning.

BERMAN: All right. Rob Marciano in Atlanta. One of those tracks taking it right into the Gulf of Mexico.

SAMBOLIN: Yes. Thirty-six minutes past the hour. Waste, mismanagement, and employee theft at Amtrak, it appears to be off the rails. This is incredible. According to government auditors, Amtrak is losing over $80 million a year on its food and beverage service alone.

And get this. Congress passed a law in 1981 requiring the railroad's food and beverage business to break even every year, and it had never happened not even once. Here's why. Amtrak charges passengers $2 for a soft drink, but it costs the railroad about $3.40 to serve each beverage. When you add in the labor costs.

A hamburger goes for $9.50, but it costs Amtrak $16 for each one that they sell, throw in up to $7 million a year in employee theft and Amtrak have cost taxpayers $834 million. This is over the last decade. Those are remarkable numbers.

BERMAN: Those are crazy numbers. You wonder why there was money. If you sell hamburgers at a loss, that's why you lose money.

Police in Vermont say a man was so upset over a recent arrest that he wanted pay back and he did it monster truck style. They say 34-year-old Roger Pian (ph) used a tractor to crush parked police cruisers. Do not try this at home. Pian (ph) was arrested a mile and a half away by other officers. Sherriff's deputies could chase him because they, apparently, didn't have any working cars at the scene.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Forty years after they divorced, a couple is giving marriage another shot. Did you hear what I say? Forty- eight years after they divorced. Lena Henderson and Roland Davis got married as teenagers. This is during World War II. Twenty years, four children later, they divorced. Both remarried, but lost their spouses, but they never lost touch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) LENA HENDERSON, REMARRYING 48 YEARS AFTER DIVORCE: We are the oldest couple that -- he's married and he said he is very excited.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You nervous when you did it?


HENDERSON: This is a lot for us. We won't be able to do it again.

DAVIS: This is something kind of unusual for both of us, but I think we will make out all right.


SAMBOLIN: We think you'll make out all right, too. After Davis' previous wife died, their oldest daughter gave him a nod to call Henderson and propose. She said yes. The big day is tomorrow.

BERMAN: Congratulations to them. (INAUDIBLE) to them down there.

All right. It's 38 machines past the hour right now, and they are the worst kept secrets in Washington, maybe the worst kept secrets everywhere. A closer look at the candidates' better halves.


BERMAN: There she is. Washington, D.C., the Capitol Dome. It is 76 degrees there now, but get ready for a hot one, because it will be 95 degrees later on and sunny. So, get ready for that heat.

Talking about Washington and politics, we're getting into crunch time for these campaigns. The candidates, they're rolling out their big guns. The VP picks, the conventions, the bus tours, but unless, you look really closely, you will miss the secret battle that's going on using top secret methods. So secret, the candidates are married to them.


BERMAN (voice-over): Michelle Obama, front and center at the Olympic Games. Ann Romney, shining on her husband's world tour. Photo-ops, interviews, a special week with special spouses.

Whatever you do, don't tell anyone, because no one is supposed to know they exist. It's a secret. Headline, Michelle Obama is revealed as Barack Obama's secret weapon. Headline, Ann Romney, why Mitt Romney's wife is his secret weapon.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: President obama's secret weapon is Michelle?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mitt Romney's secret weapon is Ann.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They've already unveiled their secret weapon.

BERMAN: Not just weapons, but secret weapons.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Women are talking about jobs.

BERMAN: Apparently, the world didn't know these candidates were married, or for that matter, any candidate ever. Headline, Heinz Kerry seen as secret weapon. Headline, wife is Dole's secret weapon.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The republicans are increasingly rolling out their secret weapon, popular first lady, Barbara Bush.

LARRY KING, FORMER CNN ANCHOR: Do you look at yourself as a secret weapon in this campaign?


BERMAN: At least she knew she was married. In truth, it's a pretty safe bet. The only president never to marry, James Buchanan. Guess he didn't have any secrets. They're all married. Let's just say the secret is out. But just because it's not so secret, it doesn't mean it's not so effective. Political spouses, in general, have very high net favorability ratings.

Michelle Obama plus 40, Laura Bush plus 57, Elizabeth Dole plus 23. They often outpace their mates. They often add key insight on important subjects. The women's vote could be key in this election. Team Obama is attacking Mitt Romney on so-called women's issues.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We believe in America.

BERMAN: Mrs. Romney provides some defense. She also helped soften up the rigid image of her husband. Remember this radio interview?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you have to fight back some -- like my husband isn't stiff, OK?


VOICE OF ANN ROMNEY, MITT ROMNEY'S WIFE: Well, you know, I guess we better unzip and let the real Mitt Romney out, because he is not.

BERMAN: So, yes, they might be good on the trail, but no, they are not secret. And one more thing, they're not on the ballot.


BERMAN (on-camera): It's a shame the world was not never let in on such big secrets as Jackie Kennedy and Nancy Reagan. Michelle Obama is out campaigning for her husband today in Massachusetts at some fundraisers. Ann Romney has been at the Olympics all the time. My thing with this is I think it's, in some ways, demeaning to these spouses to refer them as secret weapons.

They're accomplished in their own way. Yes, they're effective surrogates, but let's treat them for what they are, which is surrogates. They're not the candidates, but they are also, like I said, accomplished people in their own right.

SAMBOLIN: They are, but I think in this case, right, they have a way of humanizing the candidates, sometimes, when they fail to do that themselves.

BERMAN: Humanizing is one thing, but they're all married.



BERMAN: What's the secret?

SAMBOLIN: Very good point. Very good point. Were there any first wives that weren't very popular?

BERMAN: They all tend to have net positive approval ratings. Some group had some issues overtime. You know, Hillary Clinton, there were times during the administration where her net approval rating was very close like almost 50-50, but in general -- by the way, her approval rating is much better now. In general, all very positive.

SAMBOLIN: And look what she does after her time.


SAMBOLIN: Yes. So, -- all right. Thank you so much. That was fun.

Forty-six minutes past the hour. It's time to get you up to date. And here is Christine Romans. Good morning.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: And speaking of fun, you guys, team USA on top in overall medals this morning. Thanks in part to Golden Gabby.


ROMANS (voice-over): Sixteen-year-old Gabby Douglas coming to a cereal box near you, because she became the third straight American and the first African-American to win the women's all-around gymnastics gold medal last night. Congratulations, Gabby.

More fallout over the government's "Fast and Furious" gun running operation. Former deputy director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, William Hoover, there he is, has resigned just days after a Congressional report blasted him and four other officials for that botched program.

The report claims Hoover is partially to blame for ATF agents losing track of 1,400 weapons in Mexico. Two of those weapons were later found at the murder scene of a U.S. border patrol agent.

Gay rights supporters will take on Chick-fil-A today with a kiss- in. They're encouraging supporters to share a kiss in protest once they arrive at a Chik-fil-A then post video or photos of it on social media, and that is the only campaign happening. Marci Alt (ph) of Atlanta started a petition on inviting Chick-fil-A president, Dan Cathy, to join her family, including her wife and her two kids for dinner. So far, Dan Cathy hasn't responded to that dinner invitation.

A real cliff hanger and amazing story this morning of 64-year-old Lawrence Bishop (ph). An experienced hiker from California who became separated, I know, from his friends. He spent two days clinging to a cliff, hanging on to a cliff. No food, no water. Two days clinging to a narrow ledge 600 feet above the ground getting weaker by the second.

A deputy made a heroic climb to grab him just when he was about to slip. Wow! And this is a story made for the movies. And Lawrence Bishop will be here to tell you about it firsthand at 6:45 eastern.


ROMANS (on-camera): I can't wait to hear how you go through something like that.

SAMBOLIN: I can't wait either. And you know, I get to talk to him today, and he actually wrote letters to his wife, I believe, and his daughter while he was experiencing this because he thought he was going to die. So, -- but he survived and we get to chat with him today. Very exciting.

All right. Thank you. Thank you, Christine.

Forty-nine minutes past the hour. She had her time in the sun, now, the woman known as the tanning mom, look at this picture, folks. This is tough to look at in the morning, right? She said that she is turning over a new leaf, and you're going to see that new leaf coming up.

And if you're leaving the house right now --


SAMBOLIN: You can watch us any time on your desktop or your mobile phone, just go to


SAMBOLIN: Welcome become. It is 52 minutes past the hour. I'm Zoraida Sambolin along with John Berman, taking a look at what is trending on the web this morning.

BERMAN: And this morning, we're talking about Facebook hacking. Apparently, some major league baseball teams had their sites, their Facebook site, hacked into people posting some ridiculous posts. You have to check this out in the Yankees.

They say, quote, "We regret to inform our fans that Derek Jeter will miss the rest of the season with sexual reassignment surgery."

SAMBOLIN: oh, my goodness!

BERMAN: "He promises to come back stronger than ever in 2013 as Minnie Mantles." From the Chicago White Sox, "Everyone knows President Obama is a die-hard Chisox fan. Unfortunately, we're voting for Romney. And from the Washington Nationals, I like this one in its simplicity. "We're going back to Montreal. See ya, suckers."

Major league baseball says this is not a good thing. They're not in favor of this kind of hacking and they say they're investigating who's doing it and they're coming after you.

SAMBOLIN: But it's really funny.

BERMAN: It is really funny. Despite the fact it's funny, you're in big trouble.


All right. How do you like me now? Take a look at this picture. What do you think? Well, that was her before, right? That's the so- called tan mom, New Jersey woman, Patricia Krentcil. She was charged in May with child endangerment for allegedly letting her five-year-old daughter use a tanning bed. There she is now.

Apparently, she has given up the extra crispy look, and she's posing there for "In Touch" magazine with just a natural glow. This is after not tanning for a month. But here's what she said. She said I feel weird and pale, and she is not giving up tanning permanently. She said, you know, I feel odd. So, maybe every now and then, I'll go and tan.

BERMAN: She looks like a human being now.

SAMBOLIN: She does. And you know what I'm surprised about is that she does look so human, because she looks -- I mean, we thought it was painted on originally. So, you would think there would be some after effects on her skin. She looks great. You look great.

BERMAN: Good for her now.


BERMAN: We like to think we're the biggest Olympics fans here, but we think we have found someone who is an even bigger fan. Samuel L. Jackson, fiction (ph) star, he's been all over Twitter on this Olympics and his posts are hilarious. Check this one out, "Dream realized. U.S. gymnastics gold. Strong performance. Pressure makes diamonds. Go USA!"

SAMBOLIN: Wow! BERMAN: Then this one, "OK, that was a drunk lady staggering flip dismount made famous by many girls missing the top step in the club." I'm not sure what he means there. "Uh-oh! Pommel horse next. That's like balance beam for dudes."


"Horse definitely has U.S. men's number. Oh, well, go USA! Some of his tweets even funnier, some not so clean, you know, some dirty words there, but they're all very hilarious. You have to check them out.

SAMBOLIN: Oh, I'm going to have to follow him. All right. Some late night laughs, Jon Stewart jumping into the chicken fight. Take a look.


JON STEWART, HOST, "THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART": The crowds were so big at some locations that many restaurants actually ran out of chicken. Oh, my God!


STEWART: We're out of chicken.


STEWART: The nightmare scenario that the lion's prophesy.


STEWART: America is out of chicken.


STEWART: It's the cluck-pocalypse.


STEWART: It feels so good to be politically active.


STEWART: It's a protest, baby. Yes! Something's happening here. Finally. A form of activism Americans can fully embrace effecting social change through the act of eating a fast food sandwich, said Gandhi, (EXPLETIVE DELETED) me.


STEWART: I had it backwards.


BERMAN: Just genius. SAMBOLIN: Unbelievable. I'm so glad that we get to share that with you.


BERMAN: It is just a few minutes before the hour right now, and we will have our top stories straight ahead, including NASA --

SAMBOLIN: oh, this is so cool.

BERMAN: -- about to touchdown on the red planet. Going to Mars, and we'll talk to NASA chief, Charles Bolden, about what they hope to find there in a crater. That's coming up.